This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
— David Gerrold
One of the many reasons why I believe that imagination is one of our most important faculties that ought to be cherished, encouraged, cultivated, and developed, is what is expressed above.
Without imagination, we are trapped within the boundaries of the sum total of our experiences, and, even more restrictedly, the sum total of our identity’s experiences.* By the very definition of life, we cannot know everything, experience everything, and especially cannot live everyone’s life experiences. We live the life we are living, whilst others are living the lives they are living, lives that start from very different places, experience very different events and circumstances, and are faced with different triumphs and supports and setbacks and pitfalls and challenges and institutional influences. Without imagination and exploration and playing so-called make-believe – yes, even well into adult life, and it is what we are doing when we read fiction – we can only have a small world upon which to form reality.
And in that reality, “I” am right.
In a world where we all want to be liked and loved and enjoyed and respected and validated and live exciting, happy, peaceful lives, empathy is of primal importance. Thus it is that imagination, and the prodding from extraordinary books and movies and plays and storytelling and more, is equally critical in the development of that empathy. Letting our imagination inhabit others. Cultivating empathy.**
* – For the identity will colour and interpret and latch onto and create and record/remember only a rather narrow range of experiences, even given the myriad of events we may encounter.
** – “It is my not very humble opinion that most human problems stem not from a failure to communicate — but from a lack of empathy, a failure to care, a failure of respect.” I especially love this powerful statement.